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Local WWII vet honored with Legion of Honor medal

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- He fought on the beaches of France nearly 70 years ago and now the French Government has made him a knight.

There was a medal ceremony for Staff Sgt. George Minarik at the VFW Post in Mishawaka on Friday.

The honor had been a long time coming.

Minarik is 92-years-old. He joined thousands of other American soldiers honored by the French for liberating them from Nazi control.

Congressman Joe Donnelly read a letter sent by the French government and pinned the Legion of Honor medal to Minarik's chest.

This is the highest honor that France offers. It was started by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

As the ceremony drew to a close, veterans then took turns saluting Minarik, who still remembers fighting in the war, losing friends along the way, and the plight of the French people.

"You better believe I was scared. I didn't know if I was going to get back out or not. If I had to do it again, I probably go again if I had to; but I don't think they'd take an old bugger like me anymore," said Minarik.

After the ceremony, Congressman Joe Donnelly called Minarik an American hero. Now he is a French hero too.

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